Stan Lester Developments
education and training systems
Professional qualifications in the
conservation of cultural heritage
This site contains information on qualification developments managed by the Institute of Conservation (Icon), the UK professional body for the conservation of material heritage.
Related journal articles and reports
Institute of Conservation (external site)
ACR is the professional qualification (qualified status) for conservators in the UK. ACR status is based on the ability to practise to a proficient and ethical standard, and it is awarded following a rigorous professional practice assessment (the PACR process). Further details of the assessment process, including professional standards, application documents and guidance, are on the Icon accreditation site. The 2007 professional standards are also available here. A review is being conducted in 2019-20 to revise the standards.
Stan Lester’s article “Putting conservation’s professional qualification into context” (The Conservator, vol 31, pp5-15, 2008) discusses some of the points raised in the 2007 review and locates PACR in the context of other professional qualifying processes and qualification frameworks.
The Conservation Technician Qualification (CTQ) was developed and trialled between 2007-10, and formally launched by Icon in 2012. It has now been merged into the Level 4 Conservation and Collections Care Technicians Diploma.
This is a schematic diagram showing progression through the UK (E,W&NI) qualification levels in conservation. Note that the Technician Qualification was originally pegged at the equivalent of level 3, while its replacement is at level 4 (there is no conservation qualification at level 3).
Download or view (pdf file).
ECCO Competences for Access to the Conservation-Restoration Profession
ECCO have produced a competence map for the profession: see the links below.
Ecco Competence Map (pdf from ECCO web site)
Hutchings & Corr 2011 – article explaining the development and rationale behind the map (pdf file)
Comments on the ECCO competences document (pdf file)
The following articles by Stan Lester are all in pdf format and under 100kb.
“The Conservation Technician Qualification: an employer-led development,” Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 14 (1), 43-55 (2009)
“Putting conservation’s professional qualification in context,” The Conservator 31, 5-15 (2008)
“Becoming a profession: conservation in the UK," Journal of the Society of Archivists 23 (1), 87-94 (2002)
“The Professional Accreditation of Conservator-Restorers: developing a competence-based professional assessment system," Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 24 (4), 411-423 (2000)
“Professional bodies, CPD and informal learning: the case of conservation," Continuing Professional Development 2 (4), 110-121 (1999).
Conservation accreditation in context
The qualifying process and standards in conservation are discussed in the following papers on professional standards and entry-routes:
“The development of self-regulation in four UK professional communities”, Professions and Professionalism 6 (1), 1-14 (2016)
Association and self-regulation in smaller UK professions, Avista Press (2014)
“Professional versus occupational perspectives on work competence”, Research in Post-Compulsory Education 19 (3), 276–286 (2014)
“Professional standards, competence and capability”, Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning 4 (1), 31-43 (2014)
“Professional competence standards and frameworks in the UK”, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 39 (1), 38-52 (2014)
“Routes to qualified status: practices and trends among UK professional bodies,” Studies in Higher Education 34 (2), 223-236 (2009).